If You are Happy and You Know It
by Joanne Ellison

Happy New Years to our Making Space for God community! I have this tune going through my head as I ring in the New Year, “ If you’re happy and you know it, clap your hands… If you’re happy and you know it, tap your head..,”

Okay – you can tell I have had lots of time with my grandchildren over Christmas. But today as I was thinking about how much fun that little jingle is to sing and go through the motions, I thought “What if you’re not happy?” Or, “What if you are happy and you don’t know it?” So today we are going to talk about what true happiness is and what it is not because as we begin our  new year together one of the things that I can promise you is that if you make space for God you will be content. Notice I did not say happy.

The root word for happiness means by chance. It means that the euphoria you may feel after you purchase a new car, or house or anything is fleeting. It means that that exuberant feeling you have when a significant relationship is going well may go away the next day when there is a disagreement or an issue that occurs.

On the other hand, the Greek word for blessed, makarios, means a deep contentment from receiving God’s provisions most significantly, His grace. Matthew’s writing of the Beatitudes are declarations of the kingdom of God, indicating that those who are blessed are the poor in spirit, the humble, not the rich and powerful.  When Jesus ushered in His kingdom, He turned the world’s view of happiness upside down. He said we are blessed, deeply contented, when He takes up more space in our lives than the things of the world. We are blessed as we connect with Him and His life flows through us.

So the question I have for you today: Are you happy or are you deeply content even though life is not perfect? My friends, happiness is fleeting; dependent on circumstances which go up and down. Contentment comes from a deep relationship with Jesus Christ. This year let’s all make more space for Him in our lives. Let’s together seek His kingdom first. And Jesus said that if we do, everything else will fall into place.

Seek first His kingdom and his righteousness and all these things will be given to you as well.  (Matthew 6:33)

What things? Blessings that only God can give.

If you are looking for a way to make space for God in your life, might I suggest two. First, I invite you to join me in person or by streaming for our Teaching & Worship Experience this semester. I’ll be teaching two courses back to back – Tearing Down the Fences of Offenses followed by Living in God’s Presence.  Second, you can follow along with my daily devotional by downloading the Drawing Near to God mobile app. These are two great ways to get plugged into our Drawing Near to God community, no matter where you are.



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